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Vancouver byelection: NPA Hector Bremner wins council seat, new school board elected

Hect.
Hect. Global News File

Unofficial results show Hector Bremner is Vancouver’s newest councillor, filling the spot left vacant by former Vision Vancouver Councilor Geoff Meggs.

Bremner served as an executive assistant for former ministers Teresa Wat and Rich Coleman. He also ran unsuccessfully as a BC Liberal candidate for New Westminster back in 2013.

“I’m deeply, deeply humbled and honoured,” said Bremner.

“I’m not coming to city hall and joining this team, this great team, just to play politics. Partisanship is not going to solve a 30 per cent increase in homelessness in the last three years.”

READ MORE: Vancouver residents seem not too concerned about city’s by-election

Nine candidates were competing for the seat, including Green Party candidate Pete Fry and independent candidate Jean Swanson.

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“Clearly there was a real appetite for some progressive voices. We saw that by in large, the progressive, not-developer-backed parties seemed to dominate the voter share,” said Fry, who said the outcome was a little disheartening.

Fry finished with about 20 per cent of the vote, losing to Bremner by about 3,600 votes.

Meggs resigned to take a role as Premier John Horgan’s chief of staff.

Vancouver School Board

Nineteen candidates also battled for a seat at the table but only nine are now part of Vancouver’s new school board.

The board was left vacant after former education minister Mike Bernier fired the entire board for failing to pass a balanced budget amid allegations of bullying and harassment.

Green candidates Janet Fraser, Judy Zaichkowsky, and Estrellita Gonzalez, have been elected as trustees for the VSB.

Fraser was first elected as a VSB trustee in 2014 and has been re-elected after being fired by former education minister Mike Bernier in 2016. Before running for a position on the board Fraser served as Co-Chair at Laurier Annex.

“I think a big part of the new board is that we have to bring confidence and stability to the board, to the district. And I think whoever is elected, the nine trustees elected that that is a big part of what they have to do,” said Fraser.

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READ MORE: Former VSB trustees seek re-election in October by-election

Zaichkowsky is dipping her toes into the world of politics. She previously served on the SFU board of governors for five years and as associate dean of the business school.

Gonzales is also a new face in politics, she worked in the hospitality industry as is a business owner in Vancouver.

Vision Vancouver candidates  Joy Alexander, Allan Wong, and Ken Clement, have also won a seat at the table.

Alexander was first elected to the Vancouver School Board in 2014 and has been successfully re-elected. She is a retired teacher and school psychologist.

READ MORE: Vancouver residents seem not too concerned about city’s by-election

Wong was first elected to the VSB in 1999 and has been re-elected since. He was also part of the board when the former Liberal government made the decision to fire the trustees. Wong served as Chair of the Planning and Facilities Committee.

Clement was the first-ever aboriginal trustee to serve on the Vancouver School Board. He currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network.

NPA candidates Lisa Dominato and Fraser Ballantyne have also been elected, as well as one OneCity candidate, Carrie Bercic.

READ MORE: Former Vancouver School Board chair Mike Lombardi calls firing ‘outrageous’

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Newcomer Dominato has worked for more than 10 years in the K-12 education sector. She’s also worked as a director of student wellness and safety with the Ministry of Education.

Ballantyne has come back to the board after being let go by Bernier last year. He was first elected as a trustee in 2011.

“One of the things that we want to do in the school board is to repair relationships that were broken last year. The most important part of an organization are the people that work within it,” said Ballantyne.

Bercic sat on the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) Executive from 1998 to 2014. She was also involved in the Parent Advocacy Network for Public Education and Families Against Cuts to Education.

Voting turnout

Turnout was light over the two days of advance voting. The city was hoping to see a 20 to 25 per cent turnout, that’s about 110,000 people but with less than 50,000 votes cast, turnout was 10.99 per cent.

Vancouver’s last civic election saw a turnout of about 43 per cent in 2014.

In an email to CKNW, Chief Election Officer Janice MacKenzie said she was pleased with the turnout in some areas and how well the election was delivered, but admitted she thought turnout would be higher.

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WATCH: Vancouver’s byelection turnout

Vancouver By-election turnout
Vancouver By-election turnout

~With files from Emily Lazatin, Kyle Benning and Simon Little